Salvation

 

 

12. Here are some Bible verses which affirm one way or another that once people have been saved they cannot lose their salvation. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand” (John 10:27-29); “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24); “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51); “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26); “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14); “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17); “Who [God] shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8); “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39); “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:30); “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9); “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of [in] the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13); “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:23); “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29); “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25); “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12); “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10); “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). How then can you state that a believer can fall away from grace and go to perdition? Is not your statement a countersense?

 

 

Now there is no denying that all these passages are written in the Bible, and that all of them affirm very clearly the final salvation of the saints. As far as I am concerned, I do not doubt any of them, I proclaim them with power and deep conviction. How then can I say that a believer can lose the salvation God gave to him? I can say this because in the Bible there are many other passages which don’t say the opposite of what the above mentioned passages say but they simply affirm that if a believer (and if he is a believer, he has been justified, and regenerated and sanctified) draws back, he will go to perdition. Therefore my answer is this: ‘Because it is also written in various places and in various ways that if a believer draws back he will go to perdition’.

But let us look closely at some of these passages.

● Paul says to Timothy: “If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12 - NKJV).

Now I want to remind you that the person who wrote these words to Timothy, shortly before wrote to him also that God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9 - NKJV). Was Paul convinced that he was chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world? Of course, he was; then I say, ‘Why then did he say the above mentioned words to Timothy?’ To warn him of what would happen to both of them and to every other believer, if they denied the Lord. Both my words and the words of Paul can be easily understood. Therefore, did Paul mean that a believer can deny the Lord? Of course, he did, how can we say the opposite? Of course, Paul did not deny the Lord but he confessed the Lord Jesus till the end, for in that same letter he said to Timothy that the Lord would deliver him from every evil work and bring him safely to His heavenly kingdom, and that he had fought the good fight, he had finished the race, and kept the faith; so the Lord will give him the crown of righteousness, and not to him only, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8, 18). But the fact still remains that Paul said those words to Timothy before his death; and he commanded Timothy to remind the saints of those things (2 Timothy 2:14). Why then do those who believe in the purpose of God according to election hardly ever remind the saints of these words? Because they don’t like to remind the saints of these words. Is their attitude right? In my opinion it is a wrong attitude. Therefore, let us proclaim with power the words of Paul about the fact that God has chosen us by His grace, but let us proclaim also with the same power and boldness what will happen to us if we deny the Lord.

● Paul said to the saints of Rome: “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22 – NKJV).

Paul wrote these words to people who had really believed and not to false believers, for he said just before: “You stand by faith” (Romans 11:20 – NKJV) What kind of faith? A false faith? I don’t think so; rather I think it was a true and genuine faith. How could those saints be into the cultivated olive tree through a false faith? Therefore that ‘if’ and that ‘otherwise’ were addressed to people who believed and thus who were born of God because it is only through the new birth that people can be grafted into the cultivated olive tree. However, these words are not mentioned by many who believe in the purpose of God according to election, either. Why? For the same reason I told you before. I am convinced that if Paul said those words we also must cite them and proclaim them to the brethren, without pretending they don’t exist. Someone has told me that one day a pastor of a Pentecostal Church in Emilia Romagna, while he was expounding the epistle to the Romans, said that chapters 9,10 and 11 of the epistle to the Romans do not apply to us, and in fact he skipped them and did not expound the contents of these chapters. Obviously, I think I know the reason (since I know that this pastor doesn’t believe in predestination). However, in the epistle to the Romans there are some passages (and the above mentioned passage is one of them) which are skipped by many who believe in the purpose of God according to election because they think that they don’t apply to true believers!!! No, we must not skip any part of the counsel of God which was delivered to us by Paul. Those who don’t want to speak as Paul spoke are mistaken. Let us remember that the words of Paul are sound, for he said to Timothy: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me …” (2 Timothy 1:13 - NKJV); so let us follow the example of Paul. I don’t care if I may appear ‘inconsistent’ to some, in saying that I believe that we were appointed to believe but also that a believer will go to perdition if he denies the Lord. I am sure that Paul also, in speaking in that way, was looked upon as an inconsistent person by some.

● The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews says that “we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14 – NKJV).

Therefore, according to him, the saints will inherit salvation if they endure to the end. What the writer means by these words is that we will enter the kingdom of heaven if we continue in the faith to the end; but if we cast away our confidence, we will not enter the Kingdom of God. For the writer of that epistle, in order to confirm this concept, takes the example of the Israelites who came out of Egypt, who at a certain point of their journey in the wilderness refused to believe in God, and because of their unbelief they were not allowed to enter the rest of God, as it is written: “They could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19 – NKJV). As for the Israelites, I want to remind you that when they had come out of Egypt they believed in God, for it is written that when they saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt they “feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31 – NKJV).

● The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews says: ““For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:4-8 – NKJV).

As you can see, the Scripture teaches that a believer can renounce his faith in Christ and go to perdition. However, according to some, these words don’t mean that a believer can lose his salvation because here the Scripture is not speaking of true believers, of persons truly sanctified, but of false believers, that is, of people who appeared believing persons outwardly but inwardly they were not born again. What shall we say? I am surprised to see that a passage which is so clear is so badly explained. It suffices to consider that the writer is speaking of people who were once enlightened (therefore they had ceased to walk in spiritual darkness); of persons who have tasted the heavenly gift (that is, eternal life, which is the gift of God); of persons who have tasted the good word of God, that is, people whose delight was in the Word of God and who fed not only on milk but also on solid food because they had gone beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and had become mature Christians; of persons who have tasted the powers of the coming age (that is, the gifts of the Holy Spirit); of persons who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit (therefore they have received the Holy Spirit, and I remind you that the Holy Spirit can be received by faith); and that he says that if they fall away (therefore, these persons are still standing, otherwise they could not fall) it is not possible for them to be brought back to repentance (therefore they once repented of their sins); I mean, it suffices to consider all these things with simplicity of heart in order to realize that the author is speaking of persons who believed and were sanctified.

● In the epistle to the Hebrews we read: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29).

Notice that here the Scripture states what will happen to us who have believed if we sin wilfully (that is, if we commit the sin unto death) after we have received the knowledge of the truth. What will happen to us? We will be judged by God, and we will be devoured by the fiery indignation of God because we have counted the blood of the covenant, by which we were sanctified, a common thing. How then can we say, ‘Once saved, always saved’ or ‘One regenerated, always sanctified’ in the light of the above mentioned words? We absolutely can’t say such a thing. Notice that the blood is called ‘the blood of the covenant’; is it not true that the new covenant is an everlasting covenant (Isaiah 61:8)? Yet here the Scripture speaks of someone with whom God had made this covenant but afterward he denied the blood on which this glorious covenant is based, which is the blood of Jesus. The blood of the covenant, yes the blood of the covenant, says the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, which is the blood shed by Jesus on the cross for the remission of our sins. Therefore, if a believer denies the blood of Jesus, he will go to perdition. We are saved and sanctified for ever, therefore; yes, but on this condition: if we hold our confidence in the blood of the covenant, by which we were saved and sanctified, till the end. But if we treat the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing, we will go to perdition. Amen.

 

 

 

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